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ASSUMPTION PUZZLE


What is it with business assumptions?

They remain relatively static for years, adjusting occasionally for the odd technological shift, affording the pioneers the opportunity to build up a defensible moat until the rest of the business world finds a way to catch up.

The internet, cloud computing, mobile...eventually everyone jumped on the wagon and caught up, staying relatively up to date through predictable cycles.

Then within the space of a few weeks at the end of November '22 it all changed, as individuals and organisations independently gorged on the deluge of new capabilities raining from the labs of a few AI outfits.

Now, as the Analysts and Management Thinkers think through the implications for businesses and whole industries, major adjustments are afoot, causing those same thought leaders to have to adjust their assumptions...on a daily basis.

By the way, The Rundown is a good place to try and keep up to speed on rapidly evolving AI capabilities.

But its not so much about the AI tech that's morphing on a 24-hour cycle, but more about changing baked-in business assumptions.

And that can be pretty difficult, especially when you have whole hierarchies, measurement systems, People & Culture, and sales & delivery systems that have been forged in the fires of quarterly reporting and other assumptions which have been set in stone.

Take billing targets for example. What happens when large consultancies, whose business models are predicated on the billable hour and utilisation rate which drives their headcount/revenue plans, is overnight faced with a set of AI capabilities that challenge the model?

A management opportunist, grounded in years of MBA-like thinking in that organisation might say, "well we can now make our people 10x more productive," before rushing off to upgrade their revenue forecasts for the next three years.

The only problem is that all your customers also have access to those same capabilities, not to mention competitors, or those new players coming into your peripheral vision who have no experience in your industry, but still manage to turn it upside down.

Experience is obviously a valuable commodity, but once everyone has access to instant upgrades of all those aggregated experiences, well, then it becomes commoditised.

So it's quite a dilemma, especially for those charged with managing existing business models with 2-5 year projections, while trying to figure out pivot opportunities to AI-based delivery platforms.

Of course trying to do all this yourself is not easy, but we have the opportunities to adjust our mindsets with new and existing partners, and more importantly, strike new types of bargains with our customers. I wonder if this AI summer will open up a collective opportunity to re-design customer-supplier relationships.

We will shortly know.

Meanwhile, I've been pondering my own set of evolving business assumptions. Well, some have evolved, while others could definitely use an AI-upgrade. It seems that since 2015 I've published 70-ish LinkedIn blogs on the intersection of tech and business. Obviously I can't remember half of them, but over the weekend I got the urge to see if there was a way to mine them, as well as some podcasts and YouTube videos I've created, for insights.

So I dumped a bunch of the blogs into ChatGPT and turned on model 4, then asked it for some summaries. Then I took those summaries and loaded them into Elevenlabs and created a couple of voice files of my own content. Then I loaded those voice files plus a couple of my YouTube channel's video's into Searchieand created my own Chatbot to interrogate my old content.

And the results? Well, it was nostalgic and there were some surprising discoveries. Some ideas have evolved, and a number seem to be quite fixed.

But the biggest learning of that last Sunday in Easter was the fact that I could do all of this in a couple of hours, as well as create a video explaining how I did it.

And what about any changes to my own baked-in business assumptions?

Well, a year ago a consultancy may have charged €100k for this project. I did it for about $30 and a free trial, plus two double-espressos in a couple of hours...

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